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Your Weapon’s Status

In what condition is every gun you own right now? Unloaded? Loaded? Loaded and chambered? Is the external safety gadget on or off, for each firearm? Are they in different conditions or all the same? How do you know? Are you 100% certain or would you have to do a press check to be sure? Does everyone in your household know with certainty the condition of each firearm you own without touching it? How?

This is not a situation you can treat with casual negligence. If you own one or more firearms, responsibility requires that you and everyone in your household know at all times with 100% certainty the condition of every one of them. If you or they do not, you must fix that situation. Right now.

rifle and pistol

This means that for any of your firearms, holstered on your person, stored, staged…no matter where or how they are placed, located, or carried, there should never be a moment where you or anyone else in your household has to wonder whether it is unloaded, loaded and/or chambered, or if a “safety” selector is on or off. In the event someone in your household finds a firearm they did not expect to find (in a closet, in a drawer, etc…) or if they grab it in a time of desperate need, they can be certain of its current condition even without touching it, and be able to act deliberately rather than tentatively.

And, by the way, this is an easy standard to maintain when you use a system of simple conventions.

Note: As a matter of responsibility, you and everyone in your household should regard all firearms as loaded, and should regard any “safety” lever as irrelevant; something to be kept in the “fire” position at all times and otherwise ignored—except with semi-auto rifles.

A System of Certainty

Here is a simple system that I know from experience works well to ensure you and those in your home never have to lean on discrete memory in order to know any of your guns’ condition. So long as you have no children younger than 6 to 9 in the home, even if just on occasion, System 1 is likely best for you. Otherwise, System 2 is likely best.

System 1 Conventions:

  1. All guns are always loaded, except while being cleaned, no matter whether they’re currently carried, stored, or staged.
  2. All pistols in a holster are loaded and chambered, whether on your person, stored in a safe, staged for home defense or even if in a range bag; holstered means chambered.
  3. All semi-auto/auto rifles have the bolt closed on an empty chamber (with a full magazine loaded, per convention 1) and the selector is on safe (this convention includes any “pistol”-configured AR or AK firearms).
  4. For pistols, bolt rifles, and shotguns, if there is an external safety control, the control is set to fire. Always and without exception.

You might use slightly different conventions. Maybe your pistols in holsters are not chambered. Maybe your semi-auto/auto rifles are chambered. I don’t recommend those approaches, but they may be appropriate for your situation. The point is to have as much blanket consistency as is practicable.

If you’re going to keep any of your guns unloaded, it is then imperative that you keep ALL guns unloaded (convention 1 must be 100% applicable to all guns not currently on your person) and perhaps opt for System 2 (below).

A System Variation

System 1 conventions might not work well for you if you have young children – and/or young children are sometimes in the home, like grandchildren, neighbors’ kids, or friends’ children. As such, System 2 might be best for you.

System 2 Conventions:

  1. All guns stored or staged, are always unloaded (and yet always treated as though they are loaded).
  2. A pistol carried on your person is always loaded and chambered (and in a holster).

It’s no more complicated than this. Once your children are of a certain age (that you determine, perhaps around 6 to 9 years old) and properly trained, it is best that you change to the more relevant and appropriate System 1 conventions.

Note: if children of any age other than yours are ever in your home, you have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure they have no way of gaining access to your firearms. They do not know your system and are likely wholly unsafe with firearms. Take appropriate steps.

For Carry & Training

If you don’t have an inviolate rule regarding the condition of your carry gun at all times, you cannot act deliberately when required. Instead, because of ignorance or second guessing or a simple mistake, you must act tentatively or mistakenly. This sort of irresponsibility can easily cost you your life, or the life of someone you love.

Component to the aforementioned systems, to gun safety, and to carry competence is the fact that one should never reholster an unloaded pistol; not at home, not in training, not in a class: never. When you’re training at the range and drawing from and returning to a holster, and run empty, you must either reload the pistol before reholstering – or – place the pistol on a barrel, table, or bench and pointed in a safe direction with the action open until you are ready to reload it.

No exceptions.

If you get into the habit of sometimes, even rarely, having an unloaded pistol in your holster, you will never again be able to be sure of your gun’s status. You may think you can, but you are wrong and 100% guaranteed to fail.

And yes, this means that if an instructor requires that you have an unloaded or even un-chambered pistol in your holster during a class, don’t take that class. It stands to reason that if you are unsure about the conventions of an instructor’s class, discuss this matter with them and explain your inviolate personal rule before you commit to the class. It is likely that accommodations can be made. If not, you know your choice.

Dry-fire Practice

To engage in dry-fire practice you have to introduce a mild variation into your system. While the gun carried on your person will still be loaded, it will just be loaded with snap caps rather than with live ammunition.

For dry-fire practice you will unload your firearm and take it, your magazine(s), and snap caps into a different room where no live ammunition is present, and charge your magazine(s) with the snap caps, which you will load and chamber into your pistol before holstering it. If you have a gun that has a workable trigger and doesn’t need to be charged for each dry shot, use mags loaded with snap caps anyway so that you don’t get into the habit of being okay with an empty gun (you must never put an empty gun into your holster).

When you’re finished with dry-fire practice, reverse the process and take your now-empty gun back to where your ammo & mags are (the one place where you load, unload, and clean your guns) and return it to its proper condition; be that loaded or unloaded for storage – or loaded, to again be carried on your person (in which case I highly recommend repeating, out loud, “My gun is hot now, and loaded with live ammo,” a few times before getting on with your day.

sbr

Conclusion

Human beings are creatures of habit. The only way to eliminate negligent habits is to forge unconscious, deliberately uncompromising, safe habits (as described in the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety) and to never rely on gadgets, mechanics, or technology in place of individual responsibility.

A firearm cannot be safe or unsafe. A person is safe or unsafe. No firearm gadget or lever can make an unsafe person safe with a firearm. Graveyards are filled with the victims of those who negligently believed otherwise.

You do not want or need the anxiety of ever wondering whether your gun or one of your many guns is loaded or unloaded, chambered or un-chambered, safety on or off. These are things that responsibility requires you and your household members know with 100% certainty at all times.

Use a system. Make sure everyone in your home knows the system. Conduct periodic pop quizzes to ensure everyone is on the same page. Be safe and be certain.

The Rules of a Gunfight

by Andy Rutledge 0 Comments

By Sergeant First Class Joe Frick.

  1. Forget about knives, bats and fists. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring four times the ammunition you think you could ever need.
  2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap – life is expensive. If you shoot inside, buckshot is your friend. A new wall is cheap – funerals are expensive
  3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
  4. If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.
  5. Move away from your attacker and go to cover. Distance is your friend. (Bulletproof cover and diagonal or lateral movement are preferred.)
  6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a semi or full-automatic long gun and a friend with a long gun.
  7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
  8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running. Yell “Fire!” Why “Fire”? Cops will come with the Fire Department, sirens often scare off the bad guys, or at least cause then to lose concentration and will…. and who is going to summon help if you yell “Intruder,” “Glock” or “Winchester?”
  9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on “pucker factor” than the inherent accuracy of the gun.
  10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
  11. Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
  12. Have a plan.
  13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work. “No battle plan ever survives 10 seconds past first contact with an enemy.”
  14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible, but remember, sheetrock walls and the like stop nothing but your pulse when bullets tear through them.
  15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
  16. Don’t drop your guard.
  17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees. Practice reloading one-handed and off-hand shooting. That’s how you live if hit in your “good” side.
  18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. Smiles, frowns and other facial expressions don’t (In God we trust. Everyone else keep your hands where I can see them.)
  19. Decide NOW to always be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
  20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
  21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet if necessary, because they may want to kill you.
  22. Be courteous to everyone, overly friendly to no one.
  23. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
  24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than “4”.
  25. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket.” At a practice session, throw you gun into the mud, then make sure it still works. You can clean it later.
  26. Practice shooting in the dark, with someone shouting at you, when out of breath, etc.
  27. Regardless of whether justified of not, you will feel sad about killing another human being. It is better to be sad than to be room temperature.
  28. The only thing you EVER say afterwards is, “He said he was going to kill me. I believed him. I’m sorry, Officer, but I’m very upset now. I can’t say anything more. Please speak with my attorney.”

Negligence at Range365

The shooting enthusiasm blog Range365 published a post recently wherein the author, David Maccar observed:

“With proper training, this kind of handgun is perfectly safe, but there’s no way to train for holster obstructions, short of tactile or visual inspection of the holster before inserting the gun each time—which is hardly practical.”

This is an objectively false and dangerous statement. Not only is visual inspection of your holster before inserting the gun practical, it is a responsible imperative. To suggest otherwise in a gun publication is, at best, grossly ill advised and, at worst, criminally negligent.

Visually inspecting the holster and looking the handgun all the way into the holster—while holstering in a reluctant fashion—is compulsory firearm safety. It’s what safe gun handlers do. Those who do not habitually execute this procedure are unsafe; a danger to themselves and others. As such, they should train in proper fashion to make proper reholstering habitual before strapping on a loaded firearm ever again.

Given the gravity of this mistake, I’m personally appalled at Range365 for letting such an obviously irresponsible statement escape their editing process.

Context Matters

It is relevant to point out that the post in question is one dealing with a new-ish accessory for Glock pistols, called the Glock Striker Control Device (SCD) from the Tau Development Group, commonly called The Gadget. Its effective purpose—one clearly supported by the blog post in question—is to compel Glock owners to dispense with compulsory, habitual safety and instead entrust safety (and their firearm’s reliability) to an add-on accessory.

A firearm is neither safe nor unsafe. Only a person is safe or unsafe. A safe individual is one who adheres to the 4 rules of gun safety without compromise and who never, ever cedes their responsibility to a mechanism or gadget. As this Gadget trains gun carriers to dispense with habitual safe practices, it is—by definition—a device designed to encourage firearms negligence. Responsible individuals must not entertain ideas of utilizing this or any other similarly destructive device.

This ridiculous, dangerous device aside, those who operate Range365 should reconsider their policies and advice. Everyone who touches firearms should adhere to the 4 rules of gun safety and otherwise exercise safe practices and habits with firearms…instead of becoming lazy and complacent; secure in the delusion that a gadget will take up their negligent slack.

The Fifth Rule of Gun Safety

Handling firearms comes with a mandate: habitual, uncompromising firearm safety. Following this mandate keeps us and those around us safe. The rules of gun safety are vital not just for our own safety, but for the fact that often when we’re handling guns we’re surrounded by other people.

Despite this mandate, I see unsafe gun handling every time I go to the range. Not sometimes, not most of the time, but every time I’m at a gun range.

women not minding their muzzles

Safe shooters unconsciously adhere to the four rules of gun safety. These rules are perfect and need no addition to ensure that our actions cause no harm to ourselves or others. What they do not account for, however, is the fact that some of the people who handle guns are incompetent, unsafe, or otherwise fail in their adherence to these important four rules. Therefore, responsibility requires that we follow yet another rule. A fifth rule.

The 5th Rule of Gun Safety:

“Pay attention to where other peoples’ muzzles are pointing.”

 

This “rule” is handwritten on the whiteboard at the outdoor practical range I visit once or twice every week. There are several skills classes taught each week at this range and the safety briefing given to the students in each of these classes includes a reference to this rule. And with good reason.

I understand that this extra rule of gun safety was proposed candidly one day by Brian, one of the instructors there at Proactive Defense. Makes perfect sense. With a number of shooters training on the line in one of the bays—students in a class or just people out for a day’s training and with all of the involved manipulation—there are a lot of gun muzzles for a range officer or an instructor to monitor. There are too many, in fact, from moment to moment. Therefore, he recognized, if we’re going to be safe we all have to keep track of where nearby muzzles are pointed.

Brian’s logical epiphany is not something he coined or otherwise imagined first. Situational awareness is common among responsible people, especially at the gun range. But like the other four rules of gun safety, this one is not something the average citizen thinks about and it cannot simply be learned. Gun-safety rules can be learned in 5 minutes, but this learning is irrelevant until after months of continual forging of unconscious habit. Like the other four rules of firearm safety, this one has to be drilled into the student and rehearsed time and time again until it becomes a habitual action one performs moment to moment, with all manner of manipulations, and under all sorts of circumstances without ever thinking about it. Finally, one becomes almost incapable of unsafe gun manipulation and is, finally, safe with guns. But before this can happen, the idea of a rule must be codified. That codification is precisely what Brian and my friends at Proactive Defense have accomplished, and then train into their students.

So, if you are a gun owner, here is your mandate—the fifth rule you must internalize and forge into an unconscious habit: pay attention to where the peoples’ muzzles are pointing. Despite the continual efforts of organizations and individuals, some of the people around you who are manipulating and firing guns have no grasp of the four rules of gun safety. Your life is at risk and only your vigilance can preserve it.

Be responsible. Be vigilant. Pay attention to where other peoples’ muzzles are pointing. When you observe someone violate one of the vital rules of gun safety, don’t hesitate but offer a kind-but-firm admonishment—or ask a range officer to be your proxy. Impress upon your fellow gun enthusiasts the imperative of gun safety. Live to train another day and help others to do the same.

Organization Options for Your EDC Kit

by Andy Rutledge 0 Comments
Organization Options for Your EDC Kit

Illustrations by the author

If you carry one or more concealed weapons and other everyday-carry (EDC) kit, proper organization can make you more comfortable and your EDC kit less cumbersome. One of the best ways to organize your EDC kit is to exploit your belt to the fullest advantage, freeing up your pockets in some measure.

For the purposes of this article, and as a general rule, I suggest that proper EDC kit should include all of the following:

  • at least 1 pistol
  • 2 spare magazines (this is a time of war; 2 extra mags is compulsory)
  • at least one knife (flip knife and/or fixed-blade fighting knife)
  • smartphone
  • flashlight
  • tourniquet
  • multi-tool

The fixed-blade knife recommendation is in addition to a flip/folder-knife, as a fast-access or backup weapon option for those who have been trained and have a fighting plan for knife employment. Otherwise, I believe a fixed blade is entirely optional. As a general rule, you should only carry what you’re trained to carry. Since a tourniquet is compulsory, do get trained in how to use a tourniquet. It could save your life or the live of someone you love.

If you wear a shirt un-tucked…

While wearing an un-tucked shirt, I find it very easy to conceal a host of items on my belt. I spend almost every day with the Option A or Option B loadouts shown below. This approach has four items on my belt, freeing my pockets for other items. With an un-tucked shirt, I highly recommend keeping your spare magazine(s) on your belt. Mags are heavy and can wear out a pocket quickly. Also, it is important that your spare magazines be properly oriented for fumble-free reloads.

Note: These loadouts are configured for righties. If you’re a lefty, just flip the positions.

Option A Loadout

edc kit organization

Options A’s belt loadout has an AIWB holster, smartphone in a kydex holster, TDI knife in a Kydex sheath, and two spare magazines in a Kydex OWB holster. Everything except the pistol is carried behind the body’s lateral centerline, for better concealment.

Notice that the appendix position for the pistol works best with the belt buckle moved off center.

Carried in Pockets:

  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • tourniquet
  • flip knife

Advantages:
A pistol carried in the appendix position conceals better than any other option. OWB magazine pouch allows for fast, easy access for reloads and conceals perfectly. With the phone and magazines carried on the belt, pockets are more easily organized. The rear position of the TDI knife makes for more comfortable sitting and bending.

Disadvantages:
While out of the way and comfortable, the rear position for the fighting knife is more difficult and takes longer to get to in a violent situation. Also, as it lays horizontal, the TDI knife is pretty much accessible with the left hand only.


Option B Loadout

edc-org-b

Options A’s belt loadout has an AIWB holster, smartphone in a kydex holster, two spare magazines in a Kydex OWB holster, and a vertically-mounded fixed-blade fighting knife on the weak side.

This option is identical to Option A, except for the position, orientation, and style of the fighting knife.

Carried in Pockets:

  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • tourniquet
  • flip knife

Advantages:
A pistol carried in the appendix position conceals better than any other option. OWB magazine pouch allows for fast, easy access for reloads. With the phone and magazines carried on the belt, pockets are more easily organized. The fighting knife is in excellent position for easy and fast weak-hand deployment.

Disadvantages:
The longer, vertical mount for the fighting knife can sometimes be uncomfortable for some folks, especially when sitting. Discomfort can be mitigated by positioning the knife more to the side (at 9 o’clock).


Option C Loadout

edc-org-c

Options C’s belt loadout has an IWB hybrid-style holster, tourniquet, two spare magazines in a Kydex OWB holster, and a push knife in a Kydex holster.

Carried in Pockets:

  • phone
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • flip knife

Advantages:
The side-rear hybrid-style IWB holster and position is typically more comfortable than appendix-position carry. The belt-mounted tourniquet solves what can be an awkward carry issue (sometimes not best suited to a pocket). A push knife is not as long as a typical fixed-blade EDC knife so it can be more comfortable and be positioned more toward the front.

Disadvantages:
The 3-5 o’clock position of the primary weapon takes longer to get to and is more difficult to defend (retention). The push knife can be a more awkward weapon to fight with, especially without getting specialized training. A phone is large and can be cumbersome to keep all day in a pocket (often requiring nothing else live in that pocket).


Option D Loadout

edc-org-d

Options D’s belt loadout has an IWB hybrid-style holster, tourniquet, and two spare magazines in a Kydex OWB holster.

This loadout is just like Option C, but without a fixed-blade knife.

Carried in Pockets:

  • phone
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • flip knife

Advantages:
With most of the same advantages as Option C, this option has one less item on the belt.

Disadvantages:
With most of the same disadvantages as Option C, the lack of a fixed-blade knife means having to use a slow-to-deploy flip-knife as a non-gun or backup weapon if needed.


Option E Loadout

edc-org-e

Options E’s belt loadout has an IWB hybrid-style holster and two spare magazines in a Kydex OWB holster.

This loadout is just like Option D, but without a belt-mounted tourniquet.

Carried in Pockets:

  • phone
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • flip knife
  • tourniquet

Advantages:
With only a primary firearm and backup magazines on the belt, the diminished belt loadout means less weight and bulk on the belt.

Disadvantages:
With only a gun and ammo on the belt, everything else must be carried in pockets. Unless you’re wearing 5.11s, with extra pockets, it’ll be difficult to comfortably and strategically carry a phone, flashlight, tourniquet, flip knife, and multi-tool in your pockets. Also, there is no fixed-blade knife to use as a fast-deploy or backup weapon.


If you wear a shirt tucked…

A tucked shirt presents some challenges to concealed carry and to advisable and comfortable EDC kit complement carry. A tucked-in shirt generally means a smaller gun and only a single IWB magazine pouch (I’ve never seen a comfortable way to carry 2 mags inside the waistband). While one could carry an additional magazine in the pocket, the pockets will already be loaded down with other EDC kit. Not optimal.

While a phone can certainly be belt-carried with a tucked-in shirt, I’m not showing that option here as I don’t think a phone should be a visible fixture on a person. Surely, some with less concern for courtesy will disagree with me.

Option F Loadout

belt loadout options

Options E’s belt loadout has either an an AIWB holster or an IWB hybrid-style holster and one spare magazine in a Kydex or leather IWB holster (all covered under a tucked shirt). Of course one could wear a Kydex holster in the 3-5 o’clock position, too.

Carried in Pockets:

  • phone
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • flip knife
  • tourniquet

Advantages:
Tuckable holsters for both the pistol and spare magazine allow for workplace or formal dress with good concealability (with a smaller gun model).

Disadvantages:
IWB carry with a tucked shirt typically, if not always, means a smaller gun than one should otherwise carry (especially in a time of war, like now). The single spare magazine means less ammo and only one malfunction-replacement option. The exposed belt means no good option to carry other important EDC kit outside of the pockets.


Option G Loadout

edc-org-g

Options G offers a variation of Option F’s approach. Instead of carrying a pistol and a spare magazine, you might carry a primary pistol and a backup gun. This approach can be accomplished in a number of ways (spare gun in ankle holster or carried off-body—not recommended), but I’m showing here in what is the best configuration with both guns on the belt. One is in appendix position and one is in 3-5 o’clock position.

Carried in Pockets:

  • phone
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool
  • flip knife
  • tourniquet

Advantages:
Tuckable holsters for both the pistol and spare magazine allow for workplace or formal dress with good concealability (with a smaller gun model). Having a backup gun rather than a spare magazine means a faster transition should your primary run empty or malfunction beyond quick repair. There is an added advantage of having the option to arm a compatriot should a prolonged life-threatening situation develop.

Disadvantages:
A backup gun will generally be one smaller than your primary gun. This can present challenges with respect to ammunition caliber match and magazine compatibility between the two guns (it’s always best to have magazine compatibility—like primary is a G19 and backup is a G26, etc…). Also, two guns on your belt can be a bit bulky for some folks.


Conclusion

While there are many other possible configurations you might opt for, the options shown here outline some of the primary organization plans you might consider. Some folks may find fault with prescribing two extra double-stack magazines as compulsory, but we are at war right now. That war may break out at any time at any place we frequent during the day and the attackers may number half a dozen, be well trained, and be armed with rifles. Putting them down or getting to safety could take a while and require a lot of ammunition expenditure.

Carrying a bunch of EDC kit needn’t be overly cumbersome or uncomfortable. Organization helps. I hope you find the presented options useful and thought provoking for your own approach considerations.

How To Practice at the Gun Range

by Andy Rutledge 0 Comments

If you own a firearm, especially if you carry one at home or in public, responsibility requires that you train and practice with it on a regular basis. The alternative?…

Imagine that you’re suddenly called upon to give a public piano concert. If you’ve never been trained to play the piano well and never practiced a complex concerto over and over and over—or even if you’ve practiced sporadically—how well do you expect that would go? The answer is: you would flop. If your public concert is with your pistol, your lack-of-practice failure could mean that you or innocent bystanders get hurt. The human toll aside, that will get very expensive for you in both a financial and legal sense.

Continue reading the whole article at the Eagle Gun Range blog >

pistol and ammo

My Gun Collection Records

by Andy Rutledge 4 Comments

I keep meticulous records on my firearms, especially with regard to rounds fired and parts replaced. I have never been a fan of any of the commercial apps for keeping track of these things and have always used my own solutions. This week I built a new system for keeping my collection and shooting info online. Not beautiful, but it’s quite serviceable and very handy. I highly recommend that you keep good records for shooting and maintenance for your guns.

Here’s the main tab for my original Glock 19:

 

gun info screenshot

 

And here’s the second tab, for component replacement info for frame and slide components.

 

gun info screenshot

 


There’s more to it than this, of course, but this gives you the basic idea. Whether it’s paper, an app, or something you build, you should keep accurate records for your gun or gun collection.

Run Your EDC Weapon System

EDC weapon system

You carry concealed: pistol, holster, mag pouch, extra mags, weapon light. You carry every day without fail and train so that you can hit what you’re aiming at should the situation require it.

I maintain that this is not enough.

Your EDC rig is a complement of components that you HAVE to know how to run and manipulate given any circumstance and under all sorts of conditions. Ideally this means:

  • Knowing without a doubt—without thinking—what condition your weapon is in at every given moment should you have to draw and engage (Should never vary. Ever.)
  • Ability for immediate draw from concealment and first shot(s) on vital target in less than 2 seconds (less than 1 is better)
  • Ability to exchange magazines (reload) and fire accurately again in under 2 seconds
  • Doing all of this after your strong (or weak) arm has been incapacitated
  • Ability to manage your weapon light and place rounds on vital target under duress in darkness while maintaining tactical advantage
  • Ability to immediately manage any malfunction and get back into the fight in under 2 seconds: one-handed or two handed
  • Ability to hit small targets (eyes & nose) at 25 yards quickly (less than 2 seconds is best)
  • Ability to do all of this while running oblique towards or away from your target, while being shot at, while seeking or from behind cover
  • Knowing what your holster feels like when there is the slightest obstruction while re-holstering

The times referenced here are optimal. They’re what you should work toward. Regardless of the strict times, If you cannot do these things like a boss, you need more training from qualified instructors and heaps and gobs of practice. Continually.

Or what was it you thought you were doing, carrying a gun?

Harsh? Not near as harsh as what’ll happen if you’re ever required to depend on these skills you in no way possess.

If you’re in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, hit me up and I’ll try and direct you toward proper resources to set you on the right path. Happy to help!

Required Glock Modifications for Everyday Carry

Required Glock Modifications for Everyday Carry

I believe that a Glock is the perfect fighting pistol. I do mean “a” Glock because individuals have varied preference with regard to pistol size and caliber. With a specific size and caliber, though, I hold that Glock is the best pistol to have at hand when self defense against a deadly threat is necessary.

glock logo

However, while the manufacturer’s promotional phrase is “Glock PERFECTION,” I can agree only in part. The out-of-the-box Glock is by no means perfection. My opinion is that Glock doesn’t so much make the perfect pistol as they make the perfect pistol hobby kit. Specific alteration is required in order to achieve perfection.

While I’d argue a Glock is head and shoulders above any other EDC-candidate pistol, I believe it is very unwise to carry any Glock pistol without a few necessary modifications.

Sights

There is nothing wrong with Glock’s stock sights with regard to sighting. If you can’t shoot quickly and accurately with the stock sights, the problem is not with them, but with you. That said, plastic sights are beyond useless to the point of liability when it comes to running a fighting/defensive gun.

Glock’s plastic stock sights should immediately be replaced with iron sights, of whatever configuration works best for you. I’d recommend that the rear sight not be of the sloped variety, but instead have a squared-off profile that is perpendicular to the slide in order to facilitate one-handed slide racking on a belt or table or tree or whatever is at hand when the need arises.

sights

Avoid the sloping rear sight popular with some models. The slope makes 1-handed slide racking more difficult.

Frame and Grip

There are some who find fault with the finger ridges on the front of the grip of most Glock models. I’m not one of them, as these finger ridges perfectly mesh with my hand and I like that. What is problematic, however, is the fact that only the Gen 4 model’s (and the now-discontinued RTF frame) grip offers sufficient texture for good hand purchase while firing. More disappointing and especially dangerous is the fact that with wet hands (if it’s raining, if your palms are sweaty, or if your hands are bloody from fighting), it’s quite difficult to hold onto and manipulate a Glock pistol in defensive action. Even with the rougher Gen 4 grip.

I therefore hold that it is very unwise to carry a Glock pistol (or any pistol, for that matter) without either sandpaper grips or a stippling job. And I think adding adhesive grips is the wrong way to approach this issue. I stipple the frame of every one of my Glock pistols, as I have found anything added to the grip will come off in a very short time with any significant amount of training use (you do train, don’t you?). Some see stippling as a stylistic embellishment. I find it’s a required functional modification; a deal breaker for EDC. Stippling results in a frame that you can grip wet or dry without fail.

g30s_stippled_right

The Glock frame made perfect: Stippling to add the required texture and a Dremmel job on the right side of the frame where the grip meets the trigger guard.

Another necessary modification is rounding off the right hand side (for right-handed shooters) of the area connecting the grip with the trigger guard. This is where the strong hand middle finger is held firmly against the frame and vice-locked even tighter by the force of the support hand. Out of the box, this area is quite squared off and very un-ergonomic and it requires remedy in order to avoid severe discomfort after shooting more than ~20 rounds (if this doesn’t hurt your finger, you’re not gripping your pistol tightly enough).

The Dremmel-driven modification here is not so much an undercutting of the trigger guard as it is a rounding of the side transition, where the middle-finger’s first knuckle will go. The result is a fantastic boon to grip comfort.

Trigger

I find the Glock trigger to be decent, but by no means great. Some models tend to have better ones, like the Glock 43. The 43’s trigger is perhaps the best Glock trigger I’ve ever felt, but it is still a bit too heavy for my taste. Generally, though, a Glock’s trigger needs some work.

I’ve tried various trigger mods on various Glocks, utilizing connectors, springs, and plungers. What I find is best is to simply replace the stock connector with a 3.5 lb. connector. This replacement brings the trigger weight to around 4.5 pounds, which I prefer (you’d need to install the related trigger spring and striker safety plunger spring in order to get a 3.5 lb. trigger, which I do not recommend). More importantly, though, it gives the trigger a smoother take up and cleaner break and reset.

gtriggerconn

One caveat: 3.5 lb. connectors are not created equal. Glock’s 3.5 lb. connector is pretty decent, but there are better ones. My favorites come from Ghost Inc. and I favor either the Rocket or the EVO Elite connectors. I prefer the Rocket connector, but either requires fitting with a file, along with several assembly-test-disassembly-refit cycles.

Connector or spring replacement aside, I recommend NO polishing or grinding or other modification whatsoever to the trigger/striker system.

Popular Mods to Avoid

The wide and varied availability of aftermarket components for Glock pistols makes it easy for folks to go overboard and turn their perfect hobby kit into a silly caricature of a fighting pistol, often greatly reducing its practical functionality.

Avoid extended side-lock levers
The extended slide-lock lever was born of the mistaken idea that it’s a “slide release” lever. This mechanism was never meant to function as a slide release, which is why its external component is properly almost flush with the frame. It’s only purpose is to allow for the occasional need for the knuckle of your thumb to press upward on it to lock open the slide. One need never press down on the external lever. An extended lever gets in the way, often preventing the slide from locking open with the last round of the magazine. Moreover, it encourages the bad habit of using the lever to release the slide—which should only ever be accomplished by gripping the slide with the support hand and powering the frame forward with the strong hand to send the slide home.

Avoid titanium striker safety plungers
Titanium striker safety plungers are light and smooth and, therefore, valued by some as an upgrade for their Glock pistol. The opposite is true. These plungers attract carbon buildup which adheres easily and strongly to the top of the plunger, obviating any smoothness that was there. Moreover, they tend to deteriorate quickly with use, turning a vital safety mechanism into a liability.

Never, ever use a slide-plate “safety” device
One of the most important features of a Glock’s superiority to most other pistols is the lack of external mechanisms beyond the flush slide-lock lever. The Glock has three vital and redundant internal safety features that make the Glock perhaps the safest pistol one could carry. External/thumb safety levers on pistols only ever endanger lives because they mislead people into dangerous habits and into believing that safety is enabled or disabled by a lever. This is a fatal fallacy.

A person is safe or unsafe. No pistol is ever safe or unsafe because, quality and internal mechanisms aside, gun safety is a willful human volition. Only the operator can be safe or unsafe with a firearm. Assumptions to the contrary are the cause of every negligent gun death and injury ever inflicted or sustained.

Adding an external “safety” gadget to a Glock is the worst possible modification a Glock owner could make. Doing so transforms the mechanically safest, best-quality firearm available into one that invites irresponsible and negligent assumptions and extra, needless considerations to those manipulating their pistol.

Never rely upon or utilize a safety gadget on a pistol. Adhering to the 4 rules of firearm safety is the ONLY way to avoid killing or injuring yourself or someone else. No external lever can make a negligent person safe. Safety is 100% on people. When people forget this fact, people die.

Perfection

So there you have it: what I deem to be the required modifications for any EDC Glock pistol, along with a few to definitely avoid. I’m completely serious when I say that every one of them—both the ones to get and the ones to avoid—is a 100% deal breaker.

If you own and carry a Glock pistol, I recommend without reservation that you make all of these required modifications to your carry gun and avoid all of the bad ones. Until the day Glock Inc. decides to do them at the factory, these mods are how you get Glock perfection.

Your First Time at the Gun Range

by Andy Rutledge 25 Comments
Your First Time at the Gun Range

I first published this article at my Gun Path blog. Republishing here as that site is no longer in use.

Your first time visiting a gun range can be a bit intimidating. Even if you’re an experienced marksman and hunter, a lack of familiarity with basic shooting-range etiquette can make your first experience there daunting. Well, I’d like to make it less daunting. In this article I’ll address a few of the unknowns first timers might worry about, as well as offer some advice on things every shooter must take into account when going to a gun range.

Note that most of this information is applicable to any gun range, but some is perhaps more specific to indoor ranges. Let context be your guide.

Inexperience doesn’t matter. Safety does.

Both the staff and the shooters at a gun range love to see beginners there; it warms the heart to see someone decide begin their firearms education or hone their skills. So don’t try and hide the fact that you’re inexperienced and ignorant of many gun-range conventions. Embrace and be open about your ignorance; it’s the surest way to endear yourself to the people there. Pretending you know things you do not will produce the opposite response.

On the other hand, they do care very much if you are unsafe or unaware of basic firearm safety. So the most pressing concern for a first timer to the gun range is a solid familiarity with basic gun safety and handling. So before you go to a gun range, you should either take a gun-safety class or seek some comprehensive safety instruction from an experienced friend. Then you should spend ample time practicing the physical conventions of safe firearm handling so that they become habitual. The fastest way to draw the ire and suspicion of people at a gun range is to display unsafe behavior and gun handling.

At check-in the staff will probably ask you…

Have you shot with us before?
Basically, they’re interested to know whether or not you’re familiar with their range and its specific rules. Since you’re not, you’ll likely be asked to read their rules. Do, and read them carefully. Then ask any questions you may yet have; that’s what this first step at check-in is all about.
What are you shooting today?
They’ll want to know if you’re shooting pistols or long guns (rifles and shotguns), for a couple of reasons. First, ranges often have separate bays for pistols and long guns, since long guns are usually louder and often require longer lanes and perhaps a different backstop. Also, if you’re shooting a rifle, they’ll often want to inspect your ammo. Because of this, if you’re shooting a rifle and using a magazine, don’t load your magazines before you get to the range since you’ll probably be asked to unload them all for an ammo inspection (so they can make sure you’re not shooting ammo they don’t allow).
Do you have eyes and ears?
They’re referring to eye and ear protection. Glasses or shooting glasses and either ear plugs or earmuffs (or both in combination!) are required at all times in an indoor shooting bay or around the outdoor range. Make sure you bring both or are prepared to purchase them there. Many smart shooters wear ear plugs with their earmuffs when at an indoor range.
Do you need any ammo today?
Most ranges sell ammo, so you can choose to bring your own or just pick it up there. Note, that many ranges have limits on how many boxes you can buy and/or when you can buy (some will sell you ammo only if you’re about to shoot, but not when you’re about to leave).
Do you need any extra targets?
Some ranges will give you one free target, but will have targets for sale, too. You can choose to bring your own or purchase targets there.

General Advice & Etiquette

The range safety officer (RSO) is your friend and is there to help
Don’t be afraid to ask the RSO for help or advice or general questions! You will have questions. Heck, I’m at the range a few times a week and I still have questions sometimes. Just speak up! Unanswered questions can compromise safety and enjoyment and the RSO wants to answer your questions; that’s one of the main reasons he or she is there.
Get a range bag.
It’s useful and efficient to bring your gun(s) and accessories to the range packed neatly in a durable bag of some sort. This might be a small sports duffel bag or it might be one made specifically as a range bag. Unless you’re shooting several guns of various types, it is unlikely that you’ll ever need anything more than something large enough for 1 to 2 pistols, eyes & ears, 2-5 boxes of ammo, a rag/towel, some masking tape, a multi tool, notepad, and a pen (I happen to use a shoulder bag made for a laptop computer). The style and brand of your bag doesn’t matter. What matters is that your guns are protected and the bag’s construction can bear the weight of your equipment.
Wear a ball cap.
When you’re in a shooting lane with a semi-auto pistol or rifle, your ejected brass will often bounce around a bit before hitting the ground. It is not uncommon for ejected brass to bounce into your face and if you’re not wearing a hat it can lodge between your eye protection and your face. Trust me when I say that you do not want this to happen, as that brass is extremely hot. The last thing anyone holding a ready-to-fire weapon needs is to convulse madly in an attempt to deal with a hot shell casing burning his/her cheek or eyeball. The bill of a hat keeps that from happening.
Trust me on this, as I speak from direct personal experience!

Shooting bench in a lane

Take your lane and hang your target.
Many first timers are unsure what to do once they step into the shooting bay, but it’s really pretty straightforward. Walk to your assigned lane, put down your stuff, hang your target and unpack your gun and ammo. You may quickly be approached by the range safety officer to ensure you know the basic rules—or share them if you don’t—but other than that you can just go about your business.
Unpack your gun, magazines, and ammo – but only 1 gun at a time, 1 box of ammo at a time.
Unless your range requires otherwise, don’t unpack several guns and lots of ammo and spread/stack them all over your shooting bench. That’s a messy and dangerous situation and just asks for weapons and/or ammo to get knocked onto the floor. Make a habit of having only the weapon you’re firing and the 1 box of ammo you’re using on your bench at any given time. keep the rest in your range bag(s) on the floor. Replenish individually as needed.
When your gun is on the bench, lock the slide open or, with a revolver, have the cylinder empty and open.
Most ranges will have this requirement in their rules, but it is a safe, smart, and reassuring practice to maintain regardless. A gun range is not a place for uncertainty. A gun resting on a bench is an uncertainty unless it is open for all to see that it is unloaded and/or disabled.
Keep your gun pointed downrange. Always.
Again, most ranges will have this as a requirement, but a firearm pointed in any direction other than downrange is, by definition, unsafe. Note that downrange means straight downrange and not up or down in the general direction of downrange (the range does not consider it safe that the floor or the ceiling is targeted by your muzzle). Failing to keep the muzzle of your loaded or unloaded weapon downrange is one of the surest ways to get yourself asked to leave the range.
Mostly, mind your own business and let others mind theirs.
No one will be watching you, except the RSO to ensure you are safe. So don’t worry about doing well or looking experienced for the rest of the people there. They’re doing their own thing.
Note that when a person puts on earplugs/earmuffs and steps into a walled shooting bay lane, s/he tends to descend into his/her own world. Just as when someone is driving alone in their car, they’re in what they consider to be a private space. This will be true for you and it is true for the others in the lanes nearby. It can be a delicate matter to invade that private space, even with a friendly message or request. If you have a request or question of one of the other shooters that you don’t know personally, it is usually best to ask the RSO to be your proxy.
Note that this admonition is not to say that the gun range is an unfriendly place. Quite the contrary, in fact. When folks are just standing around in the bay, conversations among strangers are commonplace. It just means that when someone is in a lane shooting, interruptions are not so innocuous as they might otherwise be.

an indoor gun range

Shooting Etiquette

Make sure you understand your range’s firing-rate rules.
Many ranges, indoor ranges especially, have maximum-rate-of-fire rules. A common standard is, “no faster than one shot per second.” Whatever the rule at your range, be sure you know what it is. If it’s not listed specifically in the range rules, ask the RSO.
Mind your ejected brass.
Semi-auto firearms eject their brass with each shot, typically to the right. While most range lanes have walls that block your brass from hitting nearby shooters, some lanes’ walls are positioned such that it is possible for you to stand too-far forward in the lane and eject your brass into the lane next to you. This is very annoying and even dangerous for the person in that lane, so be mindful of where your brass is going and how your position in your lane affects that.
Malfunctions happen.
Hopefully not on your first trip, but you will eventually experience a malfunction at the range. Before you go to a gun range, make sure you know how to deal with various types of malfunctions calmly, sensibly, and above all safely. Call your RSO to your bay if you have any question about the malfunction (but be sure not to compromise safety in doing so).
Load your magazines with only five rounds at a time.
Five is an arbitrary number, but it is a good idea for several reasons to make a habit of loading a specific, small amount of ammo in your magazines every time at the range. Firstly, keeping count on your rounds fired with a specific magazine can help in determining if you’ve had a malfunction. For instance, if you pull the trigger and it goes “click”—or—if it fires and the slide locks back, does that mean the gun is empty or does it indicate a misfire or failure to feed? Knowing your shots fired vs. your magazine round count helps you to be sure of what’s going on. Also, most ammo boxes (especially those for handguns) are configured in rows of five, so loading five rounds in your magazine is useful in managing your shot sequences for specific drills.
Clean up.
Shooting at the range necessarily means that brass gets strewn about on the floor. Your range will have a way of dealing with that, which may include you cleaning up your own brass or the RSO may do it for you. If you’re not sure which is the proper policy, ask. Or better yet, offer to clean up for yourself using the broom or squeegee that is in the shooting bay for that purpose. If you’re saving your brass (for reloads or resale), be sure to tell the RSO before you begin shooting. In any case, be sure to clean up your brass before you leave the range.

After Shooting

Record the number of rounds you fired.
It’s a good practice to keep an accurate count on the number of rounds you’ve put through a gun. This helps with maintenance schedules and when attempting to diagnose a functional problem. In the event you decide to sell your gun, potential buyers will want to know how many rounds the gun has fired in its lifetime. I recommend you keep detailed records for each of your guns.
Maybe let the barrel cool.
After you’ve put 50 to 300 rounds through your gun, the barrel is likely quite hot and you should wait before packing it away in your range bag. When you’re finished shooting, lock the slide or bolt back, place the gun on the bench, and chill for a bit. Maybe watch other shooters (discretely) or have a brief chat with the RSO or other shooters who are hanging about. After a few minutes, check the slide/barrel for temperature and when it’s not so hot as to melt/burn your gun rag/bag, wipe it down and pack it away.
Wipe down your gear.
Before you put them away, wipe down your magazines and gun with a rag or towel. They’ll have gunpowder residue on them and even though you’ll clean them later, you don’t want to pack dirty gear away in your bag.
Wash your hands and face with cold water.
After shooting, especially if you shot a pistol, your hands will have visible gun powder stains on them, but what’s not necessarily visible is that your hands, bare arms, and face will have gunpowder residue on them. If you’re done, hopefully before you leave the range, go and wash your hands and face in cold water to remove the residue.

I hope this helped

When you’ve internalized your gun-safety habits and have acquired the minimum equipment, don’t wait—go to the range! Go alone or go with a friend, but go…and have fun. Then maybe share here in the comments how things went.